By: Odun Ishola

Vision boards, mood boards, scrapbooks, life-altering dream generators, whatever else you want to call them, are one of, if not the most overlooked platforms to help attain personal success. Success differs from person to person, and from situation to situation. As such, it’s almost too easy to fall into the trap of complacency and settle for vague concepts of what your definition of success is.

I just had coffee with a high-school friend of mine who just graduated college and of course, I asked the normal question you ask when you’re catching up with an old friend: “So, like, what’s next?”

I ask this question a lot, and most of the time it’s the same response. There are times – let’s say 35% of the time – when someone will surprise me and articulate in detail their life plan, but for the most part, I receive the same boring, ambiguous response. So I wasn’t surprised when she said, “Oh, uh, you know, a good job… and a nice family. I don’t know.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should have your life perfectly planned and figured out. Nay! Hence why I said success differs from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.  For some people success isn’t defined by life experiences. And for others, their advancement in their career is how they measure their success. Not one is better than the other; however, a definitive articulation of what you want is imperative in either situation. If a nice job and a family is what you want, you have to take the extra step to visualize it as a tangible and achievable goal.

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”

 – William Arthur Ward

To do that, you have to be able to define each aspect of your ultimate goal. Which brings me back to my original topic – vision boards. The best way to showcase your definition of success is to methodically bring it to life with a visually dynamic manifesto.

“Without a vision, the people perish…” – Proverbs 29:18

It’s critical to your growth as an individual to give yourself a visual idea of what you want out of life. It begins with being honest with yourself about what you want and never being afraid to say and demand whatever it is from life. This may be from the things you want, to the places you want to go, to milestones you prioritize or even how you want to feel. Whatever it is, never allow yourself to feel ashamed of wanting what you want. Never feel like you’re being too materialistic, unrealistic or naïve.

A vision board stamps a mark in time that acknowledges that at this moment and period in your life, this is who you are and what you want.  It is a perfect way to own every little detail of what you want out of life in an unapologetic manner and to shamelessly display your heart desires. A vision board is not only an avenue to reaffirm and remind yourself of your goals, but it’s also a way to hold you accountable to each of them.

In some ways, I’d argue that the process of creating a vision board is a form of mindfulness that can be therapeutic. The thing about creating a vision board is, it takes time. It means you’ve got to turn everything off and focus on you and your goals.  It’s a reflective process that allows you the chance to look within yourself for clarity.  Once you do this, you become centered, grounded and self-assured in the goals you’ve decided to pursue.

It’s always surprising how these goals start manifesting themselves. Laying your aspirations out in front of you and using them as daily affirmations acts as a powerful catalyst that sets things into motion. I know it sounds extremely holistic, but from a logical perspective, it makes perfect sense. Whenever you focus on a particular idea, consciously or subconsciously, you start aligning your behaviors to position yourself to intercept the manifestation of that focus – It’s called the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon.  The short explanation of this phenomenon is that our brains are highly attuned to notice patterns. Once a concept penetrates our psyche, we’re more perceptive towards that idea.

Still don’t believe me? Take the challenge and try it out yourself– I’m sure you won’t be disappointed! If you don’t know where to start and would like to see an article that details how I start my vision boards, comment down below and let me know; I’d be more that happy to write one!